Hours before IIM Act comes into effect, HRD Ministry appoints IIM-A director, IIM-K chairman

New Delhi, February 01, 2018: The HRD Ministry made two crucial appointments to IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Kozhikode on Tuesday, just a few hours before the IIM Act came into effect. The government appointed Errol D’Souza as IIM Ahmedabad’s new director and AV Vellayan, executive chairman of Murugappa Group, will assume charge as the chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) at IIM Kozhikode.

D’Souza is a professor of Economics and Dean of Faculty at IIM Ahmedabad. He was appointed as the institute’s director in-charge in August 2017 after Ashish Nanda resigned in April, a year before his term was to end. D’Souza studied Economics and Statistics from the University of Mumbai and has a PhD from JNU. His research is focused on areas of macroeconomics, development finance and public policy.

D’Souza was selected from a panel of three finalists. The shortlist for IIM Kozhikode’s chairmanship, apart from Vellayan, also had Onkar S Kanwar, chairman of Apollo Tyres, and Lakshmi Narayanan, who is the CEO of Cognizant.

The timing of the two appointments is significant as the IIM Act, which came into effect on Wednesday just a few hours after D’Souza and Vellayan’s orders were communicated to the respective institutes, empowers the premier B-schools to select their own institute and BoG heads. This level of autonomy is a first for any centrally-run educational institution. In fact, the degree of autonomy granted to the IIMs under the new law was the source of some friction between the Prime Minister’s Office and the HRD Ministry under Smriti Irani’s leadership in 2016 according to indianexpress.com

Henceforth, IIMs, such as one in Jammu, Kashipur and Amritsar, where the post of director is currently vacant, will be free to appoint their own director. Same goes for the post of chairman.

Vellayan’s selection also means that the HRD Ministry did not heed the request of one of the BOG members of IIM Kozhikode that the Board be allowed to take charge of the chairman appointment, especially after the IIM Bill has been passed by Parliament in the winter session. The Indian Express has first reported this on January 28. The IIM Kozhikode’s search-cum-selection committee had submitted its recommendations for the post before the passage of the Bill.

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